The London Virtuosi use modern instruments, but their playing is fresh and refined and the digital recording is natural and beautifully balanced. The calibre of Anthony Camden’s solo contribution is readily shown in slow movements, matched by Georgiadis’s rapt, sensitive accompaniments. On the first disc Camden’s excellent colleague is Julia Girdwood, but for the two other collections Alison Alty takes over, and the partnership seems even more felicitous, with the two instruments blended quite perfectly. Also included is a Sinfonia arranged by Camden a Sinfonia concertante. This series can be strongly recommended on all counts.–Penguin Guide
The English, historical-instrument, Baroque ensemble La Serenissima (the term was a nickname for the city of Venice) has specialized in somewhat scholarly recordings that nevertheless retain considerable general appeal, and the group does it again with this release. The program offers some lesser-known composers, and some lesser-known pieces by famous composers like the tiny and fascinating Concerto alla rustica for two oboes, bassoon, strings, and continuo, RV 151. What ties the program together formally is that it covers a range of Italian cities that were becoming cultural centers as they declined in political power: not only Venice (Vivaldi, Albinoni, Caldara), but also Padua (Tartini), Bologna (Torelli), and Rome (Corelli). There are several works by composers known only for one or two big hits, and these are especially rewarding. Sample the opening movement of Tartini's Violin Concerto E major, DS 51, with its unusual phrase construction and daringly chromatic cadenza passage: it has the exotic quality for which Tartini became famous, but it does not rely on sheer virtuosity. That work is played by leader Adrian Chandler himself, but he also chooses pieces for a large variety of other solo instruments: the Italian Baroque was about more than the violin. Each work on the album has something to recommend it, and collectively the performances may make up the best album of 2017 whose booklet includes footnotes.
Albinoni might be described as a specialist in the medium of the Concerto a cinque, of which he composed 54, published at intervals during almost half his productive life. The first six appeared in his Op 2 (1700), together with six sonatas from which they inherited some structural features, and were followed in 1707 by the 12 of Op 5. They were 'halfway houses' on the road to the violin concerto per se as we know it – and as Vivaldi established it four years later.Virtuoso passages for a solo violin appear only en passant in flanking movements and 'symmetrically' in the Adagios of Nos 3, 6, 9 and 12. Each Concerto is in three-movement form and all the finales are fugal, as they are in the Op 2, though in their simplicity they sound rather like rondos.
For consistently amiable, if undemanding entertainment, Albinoni’s concertos, with or without oboe, or oboes, are hard to beat. Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music here perform the 12 concertos contained in the collection published in 1722 as the composer’s Op. 9.
…If that's not enticement enough, suffice it is to say Zig Zag Territories' Albinoni: Sinfonie a Cinque, Op. 2, is urgently recommended for those afflicted with a taste of high-quality Baroque music and will happily appeal to less specialized musical interests who just want to hear something pleasing, yet substantial.
Xavier de Maistre is generally fêted as the artist who has managed to liberate the harp from its reputation for wonderful but very soft sounds, and establish it as a solo instrument in the concert hall. On his album "Notte Veneziana", the internationally successful harp virtuoso plays well-known concertos by the Venetian composers Vivaldi, Marcello and Albinoni in new arrangements, combining them with original compositions for solo harp such as the sonata by Giovanni Pescetti, Godefroid’s stunning set of variations on the popular tune “Carnaval de Venise”, and “La Mandoline” by 19th-century composer Elias Parish Alvars.
The English Concert is a baroque orchestra playing on period instruments based in London. Founded in 1972 and directed from the harpsichord by Trevor Pinnock for 30 years, it is now directed by harpsichordist Harry Bicket. The orchestra has been led by Nadja Zwiener since September 2007. The English Concert was founded by Trevor Pinnock and others in November 1972. The date of foundation is often given as 1973, probably because they started with seven people and only later progressed onto the orchestral repertoire as their number increased. They were one of the first orchestras dedicated to performing baroque and early classical music on period instruments, their repertoire from then to now ranging approximately from Monteverdi to Mozart…